Pennsylvania court to expedite challenge to voter ID law

On Aug. 15, Judge Robert E. Simpson Jr. ruled in favor of the law, which was passed by the GOP-controlled Legislature without a single Democratic vote and signed into law by Gov. Tom Corbett (R). In a 70-page ruling, Simpson wrote that the plaintiffs had failed to prove that the law, which requires a valid form of photo ID such as a Pennsylvania driver’s license or an accepted alternative, meant that voter disenfranchisement was “immediate or inevitable.”

ADVERTISEMENT
The law’s defenders have countered that the law is designed to curb voter fraud, thereby protecting the concept of “one person, one vote,” and that the law allows those who do not possess a valid form of photo ID to fill out a provisional ballot, at which point they have six days to prove their identities to their county election board. In addition, a week before Simpson handed down his ruling, the state announced that it would make a new form of voter-only ID available next week at the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s licensing centers.

After Simpson’s ruling, the plaintiffs immediately vowed that they would appeal the ruling to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which is currently split 3-3 between Democrats and Republicans, and filed a motion to expedite the handling of the case. The court agreed, and the hearing is set to be the first on the agenda on Sept. 13, just 54 days before the general election. However, the state’s attorney general, Linda L. Kelly, filed a response suggesting that the court would be better served by waiting to begin hearing the case until its normal October session, allowing for more time for briefs.

The U.S. Department of Justice has also become involved, investigating the law for compliance with the 1965 Voting Rights Act, and has requested information from the state. The state questioned Justice’s motivations, The Hill previously reported.

More in Campaign

Surging Ben Carson looks to peel off Donald Trump's voters

Read more »